Worst. Birthday Gift. Ever.

Apparently I have weird-shaped legs. Also I suck at picking out birthday gifts for myself.

The title is better if you imagine it being read in Comic Book Guy’s voice.

Long and short of my trip to the cast clinic is yes, I have a broken femur, there is apparently no tendon or ligament damage, and no, I cannot have a plaster cast, because my leg is shaped weird.

Yes, you read that right: I have a weird leg. The plaster cast will not stay on it properly, just as the immobilizer of doom does not stay on it properly — but, the doctor says, the immobilizer will likely be more comfortable, and I can take it off from time to time. There’s also a chance my leg could swell again, which would be very uncomfortable in plaster, apparently.

I have to stay off my leg for 6 weeks. I cannot put any weight on it. I can rest my foot on the floor if I’m sitting, but beyond that? Nope. Nope nope nope.

But anyway, besides all that — let’s focus on what’s really important. I have weird legs, guys. WEIRD LEGS. I can’t even argue with the doctor on this one because he’s right. I’m a freak of nature.

legs

See? This is right after it happened, too, so you can see the amount of swelling in the left leg. But that bend inwards at the knee? It’s super pronounced. When standing straight the edges of my feet almost line up with my hips, and the knees bend inwards to touch each other. And the kneecap is super high up. I know, because I saw it on my CT scan. IT WAS WEIRD.

Also there’s the fact that my legs are sort of shaped like cones, with the tiny end pointing down.

WEIRD LEGS, GUISE. ::does spooky arms::

After the cast clinic we headed home, and this is the conversation we had in the car (this was after my crying breakdown in the hospital).

Me: So this is the worst birthday gift I’ve ever gotten myself.

Mr. Katje: That’s what you get for getting it so early! And now you can’t even take it back.

Me: Nope, I’m stuck with it. Buyer’s remorse or what.

Anyway. I am immobilized for six weeks. In 2 weeks I have to see the doctor again so he can see how the leg is doing. But basically, no nothing for Katje until the end of August.

I have some projects to keep me busy while I’m stuck without a working leg. A big one is writing. I’m trying to get my word count up this month. (I’m participating in Get Your Words Out and I’ve pledged to write 150,000 words this year. So far I’m at just over 80,000.)

Things I'm working on today: writing....
Text from a short story I’m working on.

Another big one is editing and publishing — related to the first, of course, but I’m not always editing or publishing my own works, so it deserves a separate category. Right now I’m proofing Broken Sleep by Kaimana Wolff, and editing/revising The Jade Star of Athering, sequel to Bellica.

I’m also trying to get caught up on my reading. I read very slowly, but with not much else to do I might read more than one book this month. One can hope, anyway.

And finally, I’m powering through Stargate SG-1. I adore this show. I am on season 7, please no spoilers in the comments. (I realize it’s 17 years old but I’ve been able to keep myself relatively spoiler free.)

...and Stargate SG-1. (that shld rly say dreamboat tbh. Mmmmm, Teal'c.)

Mmmm, Teal’c.

Anyway, this is my summer. All this, and no showering (at least until I get the shower chair from Oma’s old place). Don’t visit. Your nose will never forgive you.

If you do want to brighten my summer up, however, you can nominate my book, Stranger Skies, for the awards for which it’s eligible! (Assuming you’ve read it. If you haven’t read it, most of the Advance Reading Copy is available to read here. All of the chapters will be released by October 5th.) Details in this post at my Livejournal. The deadline for one of the awards is July 15th, but the others have more time.

Now that would be the best. birthday gift. ever.

-Katje

The Great Bookening 2014 (or Katje finally unpacks and puts away ALL THE BOOKS)

I am productive and stuff.

Almost all of them. I’ve yet to really unpack Mr. Katje’s books (I did 2 boxes; that’s all), but I’ve done all of my books, which was 30+ boxes so it’s kind of a big deal.

Look, pictures!

The Great Bookening '14: non-fiction and unread fiction.

Non-fiction and unread fiction. Most of the non-fiction is of the sort that will help my writing along (history, culture, books on writing craft, grammar, books of names), but there’s also a lot of theatre and film books on these cases. Also, writing notebooks and proofs. You may notice the cases are overflowing. This is true of most of the bookcases in the house, because I had to sacrifice one when we needed a TV stand.

The Great Bookening '14: God-bothering books.

God-bothering books, as mom calls them. Lots of books on Buddhism, esoteric stuff, spirituality…etc. This is also my meditation corner, hence the Thangka on the back of the door and the little altar/shrine areas.

The Great Bookening '14: read fiction

Read fiction. Double-stacked. Triple-stacked even. (For scale: all these books used to take up five shelves on another bookcase.)

The Great Bookening '14: misc

Misc. mish-mash! This was one of the first cases I filled up and I was in such a “FUCK ALL THESE BOXES” mood that I just jammed whatever the hell up there. Journals at the top, some language books, comics and children’s books, First Nations studies, history, science…the list goes on.

The Great Bookening '14: cooking, crafting, fiction

And the cooking, crafting, herbalism, knitting/crocheting, and Mr. Katje’s books shelves. Not totally full yet — will be when I unpack some more of Mr. Katje’s books.

So I have managed to unpack and put away all my books, and am making a dent in Mr. Katje’s books. It is likely we will have to get another bookcase for the rest of his books.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go sleep for forever. Or eat a lot of food and watch NCIS, season 7. (Mr. Katje has gotten me hooked on the show and I expect I will soon catch up to current episodes.)

-Katje

Small Things

This is meant as sort of a general update on my life.

This is meant as sort of a general update on my life.

Defeat of the depressive episode: I’m apparently in a good place again. I think this was partially brought about by embracing my true self again (and partially because it had been over a month, which is how long the last one lasted after my first Depo shot). That was accomplished thanks to Abby from NCIS. It’s complicated; I don’t know if I can explain it. But it has to do with the fact that I’ve suppressed my goth-ness for years and years, for various reasons, and watching NCIS and Abby kick ass at a respectable job while being totally gothed out has made me feel more confident in being myself again.

Ok maybe it wasn’t that complicated?

Today's look inspired by Abby from NCIS. #ootd

Anyway. I got hair ties and I’ve started doing my hair like Abby’s and wearing more of my black clothes, as well as starting the process of weeding out the things from my closet that I never wear or no longer fit. I’m taking my time with it, because I need to be sure, and because it’ll be a while before I can add any more clothes to my wardrobe.

I’m alive, at any rate, and doing pretty well.

I worked my butt off last week in an effort to put rent together to pay back Mr. Katje for his covering my half. I did it, but I still need to work extra hours this week because I also owe him for internet and cable.

Plan G didn’t come through, so I need to find a way to pay for my meds. (Unless it’s just held up in bureaucracy; whatever the case, I can’t wait any longer for it to come through. I need to find a way to come up with the cash for my anti-depressants.)

I may be looking for a job outside the house soon, to supplement my self-employment income. I don’t know what that will do to my ability to blog on a regular schedule. Probably cut it off at the knees.

I wish I didn’t have to consider this as an option, but the fact is money is tight enough that I might need to work a part-time job on top of my full-time jobs of Publisher and Hausfrau. Who knows when I’ll find time for my full-time job of Writer. #notbitter

Took my first walk in the neighborhood today. Dressed far too warmly for it; thought it was going to be a lot colder. I took some pictures, which you can see at my Flickr photostream. Here’s one of them:

Road subject to flooding.

Road subject to flooding.

Phone-camera photos aren’t the most amazing, but I think I do alright, considering. Eventually I’d like to get a SLR camera, but it’s not exactly in the budget right now.

I wrote an angry rant about tattoos, ageism, and classism. I don’t know if I’ll post it or not. It rambled and seemed incoherent and really just wasn’t my best work. If I manage to revise it to a satisfactory version, I will probably post it.

I applied to grad school. Have some supporting documents to upload still, but the application is complete and paid for. I’ll know in May if I get an interview, and then after that they’ll tell me if I get in or not. I don’t really have any emotions about it at this point and I think that’s a form of self-defense against disappointment. So, more on that as it develops, I guess.

That’s about it. And now I need to get back to work.

-Katje

2013 James Tiptree Award Winner and Honor List Announced

I’m not sure when exactly this happened; I was too preoccupied with moving since late January to continue with my obsessive refreshing of the Tiptree website.

Recently the honor list and winner of the 2013 James Tiptree Award were announced. I’m not sure when exactly this happened; I was too preoccupied with moving since late January and surgery + recovery this week to continue with my obsessive refreshing of the Tiptree website (some of you may remember my book was nominated).

I’d like to extend my heartfelt congratulations to N.A. Sulway, author of Rupetta, winner of the 2013 Tiptree Award.

I’d also like to extend congratulations to the members of the honor list: Eleanor Arnason, Aliette de Bodard, Nicola Griffith, Alaya Dawn Johnson, Ann Leckie, Bennett Madison, Sarah McCarry, Janelle Monae, Helene Wecker, and S.M. Wheeler.

I didn’t expect Bellica to win the Tiptree, but I did entertain some hopes of being short-listed. I would be lying if I said my pride weren’t a little bit stung right now.

But I can see the logic. Bellica was my first novel and it was incredibly long. It’s not terribly revolutionary. It’s good, but perhaps it’s not award or short list material. (And who knows — Canada Post says the copies of the book arrived on time, but perhaps they didn’t. That would suck, but it would also be my fault for not getting the books out earlier.)

Bottom line: I’m okay with Bellica not winning or making the list. I think my other books will have a better chance at being listed for awards, even if I never win any (with which I am also okay). I have a lot of faith in my latest book, Stranger Skies, and the rest of the series that will follow.

Though my pride is stung — I am a Leo, after all — I do not harbour any bitterness or resentment towards the judges or the winners. The authors on that list worked hard for this achievement and they deserve it. I wish them well, and I will add their works to my To Be Read list.

I encourage you to do the same.

-Katje

PS: for the record, Stranger Skies is eligible for the 2014 Tiptree. If you feel it should be nominated, you can do so here: 2014 Tiptree Nomination Form.

Please do not nominate it unless you truly feel it deserves to be considered. (This requires that you have read it.)

Book Launch for Stranger Skies this Saturday in Powell River

Some info about my book launch for Stranger Skies this weekend in Powell River.

StrangerSkiesebookcoverPress

Stranger Skies

Queer Pagan Fiction with a YA Bent

“The scent of death and fear hit her then — she’d found her first Minae wolf….”

A goddess’ fall from grace leaves her on an alien world, bereft of her followers, trapped in a mortal body. Should she strive to regain her godhood or accept her mortality and find love?

Silva, Queen of Wolves, Lady of the True Woods, seeks her only friend Etan, who, along with other deities of the Council of Divinity, has gone missing for reasons unknown. Her search traps her on a world where the wolves have lost faith in her; she becomes a mortal woman whose remaining powers could brand her as a witch.

Through the chaos of war and the turmoil in her own heart, Silva can’t escape a persistent feeling: her fall was not an accident.

~~

Just a brief heads up before I go collapse into a codeine-induced coma:

I am having a book launch for my latest novel, Stranger Skies, this Saturday the 22nd at 4 p.m. It will be held at the café “A Step Above” on the second floor of Quality Foods on Joyce Avenue.

From the event page:

It’s finally happening! Stranger Skies is having a book launch this Saturday in Powell River!

Stranger Skies
First Novel in The Borderlands Saga

“Any reader who loves wolves, woods and wonderful characters will devour Stranger Skies.”
— K. Wolff, La Chiripa

Have your copy of the first volume in this magnificent new science-fiction/fantasy saga signed by Katje van Loon, author of Bellica.

Located at the cafe above Quality Foods in Powell River — “A Step Above”. Go to the end of the cash registers, past the frozen foods section, and take the elevator or stairs up!

Hosted by The Pearl Review, Powell River’s book-lover’s collective.

Cover art by Autumn Skye ART.

You can RSVP at the Facebook event page here.

(Let me know if it doesn’t work; FB continues to mystify me. The event is set to public but who knows.)

If you’re in Powell River this weekend I hope to see you at the launch!

If you don’t live in Powell River, I will be having other book launches for Stranger Skies in the coming months both on Vancouver Island and in the Lower Mainland. It’s an informal book tour — informal, because we’re not planning the entire thing out beforehand and are just doing it as and when and where we can.

However, there will be more notice than a few days’ worth for other towns. We meant to get the word out earlier for this one, but moving + travel + surgery + recovery has kind of eaten our lives.

Speaking of recovery…I’m going to go do more of that, in bed, for several hours. Sleepy time! Codeine is kickin’ in with a vengeance.

Hope to see you on Saturday!

-Katje

Predictions

On July 30th, 2014, I will be…

There are 344 days remaining in the year. Describe what you’d like to be doing on day 211. (Hint: that’s July 30th.)

-The Daily Post

I have my whole year planned out for writing, editing, and publishing. I really hope things go according to plan (in my personal life, too). If they do, on July 30th I will be…

…penning word 50,000 on Anala, third book in The Third Age.

…continuing work on my outline for book 4 in The Third Age (as of yet untitled).

…working on the ebook for From the Ashes, book 2 in The Borderlands Saga.

…preparing for an epic Long Weekend. (August 4th is B.C. Day.)

…playing Guild Wars 2 (I assume that by the time July rolls around I will actually own a real copy, not the free trial account I played once in August that made me immediately fall in love with the game).

…engaging in ongoing preparation for my classes, which will start up in September. I’m going in for my Master’s, and I’m also applying for a diploma program at a different school.

…doing what I hope will be daily habits by then: cooking, cleaning, knitting/crocheting, and reading. (Writing, too, but that’s mentioned above.)

To make those things happen, I need to stay on track with my goals now, in January, and in each month between now and July. I need to finish my plot outlines, and my first drafts, and second and third drafts; I need to put together story bibles. I need to work every day.

It’ll be tough. I hope I can do it.

The Writer’s Journey, Chapter 1

The book is a look at the Hero’s Journey and how it can apply to writing and a writer’s life.

Cover image of The Writer's Journey, Third Edition, by Christopher VoglerI’ve started reading through The Writer’s Journey (Third Edition) by Christopher Vogler. I was given the book ages ago by mom and never really sat down to read it. (I have such a huge pile of books that are TBR.)

The book is a look at the Hero’s Journey and how it can apply to writing and a writer’s life. The Hero’s Journey is the idea that every story is, at core, the same. It’s a monomyth paradigm put forward by Joseph Campbell.

There are a lot of problems with this paradigm being touted as universal. The Hero’s Journey has a definite Western bias and trying to apply it to non-Western stories and myths is, to my mind, a form of literary colonization.

However, I still think the book will be useful to me. Not because the Hero’s Journey is universal, but because it is specifically biased to Western civilization, and I am a Western writer, with a Western audience.

The book also doesn’t push formula, which is unexpected, honestly. It puts forth the Hero’s Journey as a form, but says that to make it really work, one must internalize one’s understanding of it and then do one’s own thing. It’s form, not formula. It’s a map, with possible rest stops marked out, not an itinerary from which one may not stray.

The rest stops he marks out are as follows, with my own understanding of what each rest stop means.

Continue reading “The Writer’s Journey, Chapter 1”

Every day, in every way…

Often I need to hit a point that’s just below overwhelm to actually accomplish things; if I have too little to do, I procrastinate, and if I have too much, I escape from the stress by doing anything except what I’m supposed to.

I feel as if I’m simultaneously taking on too much and not enough at the same time. It’s an odd sensation.

On the one hand, I’ve been incredibly productive since the year began. On the other, I’ve noticed my tendency to get distracted is in full swing. Often I need to hit a point that’s just below overwhelm to actually accomplish things; if I have too little to do, I procrastinate, and if I have too much, I escape from the stress by doing anything except what I’m supposed to.

I cleared up some necessary things in the first few days of the year, striking them off my to-do list. Right now I’m looking at trying to finish cleaning my house so I can go visit my mom in Powell River. Yes, it needs to be spotless before I leave. Is it? Not remotely.

I worked as hard as I could yesterday doing this, as well as several other necessary things. (For example, writing every day — while a pleasure for me — is a necessary item. I view it as something I may not skip out on. Thus, I sat down to start a story and maybe write 750 words yesterday, and ended up penning just over 3,000. This morning I finished the story with another 1,144. It’s fantastic that I’m going so far over my word count goal, putting me far ahead of my current YTD goal for both Get Your Words Out and Inking It Out, but I need to reel it in a bit — if I expend too much of my momentum in one day, I often think to myself I can skip the next day. The point is to build up a steady habit of writing, not continue in the cycle of boom and bust.)

I think I’m just way too tired, physically, today. When I woke up this morning I could barely make it to the kitchen to get the coffee I so obviously needed. And my body did that thing it likes to do, again, where I went to bed at 10 pm so it woke me up at 3am for no particular reason. Luckily I was able to fall asleep again, but I slept in — instead of waking up at 5:30, I woke up at 6:45.

So I’m working on cleaning as fast as I can, but trying not to overtax myself. I’m having a big breakfast and moving as my back allows. I still have hopes of leaving by noon, which will put me at my mom’s place sometime in the early evening, depending on the ferry.

Here’s to continuing productivity, even if I would have rather stayed in bed a bit longer. Every day in every way, I chip away at my undisciplined self, reaching the productive adult I know lies somewhere within. Deep, deep within.

Embracing Quitting

No one is every any good at anything until they practice, yet I’m the worst sort of drill sergeant in my own head, screaming at me, calling me a maggot, because I wasn’t perfect the first time — or because I THOUGHT about quitting.

Gods know how I ever got to a point where I not only finished but published two novels. I think I have, entirely, my outside support system to thank for that.

2013-Participant-Vertical-BannerI’m a perfectionist. Type A personality. I don’t quit things. I finish them, and they’re always perfect. If they’re not I need to take anti-anxiety meds and hide in my closet.

Very rarely this can be a positive thing — makes me get things done right the first time — but mostly it’s the fucking worst. I mean, generally this attitude makes me unable to deal with failure of any sort, which basically makes me unable to function because being human means failing at something on almost a daily basis. No one is every any good at anything until they practice, yet I’m the worst sort of drill sergeant in my own head, screaming at me, calling me a maggot, because I wasn’t perfect the first time — or because I THOUGHT about quitting.

Gods know how I ever got to a point where I not only finished but published two novels. I think I have, entirely, my outside support system to thank for that.

This year I signed up for Nanowrimo. Again. I do it every year, it seems (except 2010 — can’t remember why not, now, but likely I was just under unholy amounts of stress and made the smart decision) — Nanowrimo is like a drug I cannot resist. Its siren call urges me on to the greatest heights of success…or the lowest depths of failure.

Often I beat myself up for not finishing Nano. Even last year, when I reached 60,000 words two weeks before the end of November — I was upset because I hadn’t actually finished the story, which was what I had set out to do. Give me a chance and I’ll always find a way to be hard on myself.

Which is silly — a year later and that book, the one I started for Nano 2012, is published. Obviously I’m not a failure. My brain is a liar.

So this year I decided I wanted not only to write my ID — that is, write whatever the hell I wanted and not worry about story mechanics or whether my main character was too Mary Sueish or not — but also publish as I finished chapters. I felt it would give me…some sort of accountability, if only to myself.

I then decided to pants writing a story set in a world that needed extensive worldbuilding. Not my best decision.

At the beginning of November I was still deceiving myself into thinking I could do this, even without any portable writing tool — my laptop is on the fritz and experiments with the iPad have revealed it’s quite impossible to use it to write away from home. At least until Scrivener has an app for it.

And then came the editing and formatting delays with Stranger Skies, which I’ve mentioned here before. And I got so caught up with the work of publishing that I had to put writing aside.

I stressed about this for a while. How could I not? I was failing again.

And then at some point the stress just…melted away. The stress regarding Nano, at least. I got to the end of the formatting and editing work and…just never got back to Nano.

It’s not that I’m dissatisfied with what I’ve written so far; far from it. I think I have the beginnings of a good story there. I just don’t have the energy to write in the constraints of Nano this year. And, honestly, I should really be focusing on some WiPs before I go starting new projects to get halfway through before dropping.

So I’m embracing quitting this year. I’m not winning Nano; I’m not even going to up my word count any higher than where it is — a piddly 3,763. I’m letting it sit and I’m going to be okay with that.

Even if I need a little help from my good friend chocolate.

Facebook hiatus, day bluh-blur-bluh

A short way of saying “I don’t actually know how long it’s been; the days have blended together into one large party.”

I have come to loathe Facebook. It’s a black hole of negativity and every time I go on there, I feel miserable. So I decided to take a hiatus and I feel much better! I still feel like I should be on there; I still feel it calling me. But I’ve resisted, mostly, and I’m happier for it.

Not only have I been happier, but I’ve been much more productive. Instead of sitting around and watching TV and crying 24/7 I’ve only been doing it a few hours each day, and the rest of the time I’ve devoted to work.

Mom even helped me schedule a book launch for Stranger Skies! If you’re in Vancouver at the end of November, it’ll be Sunday, the 24th, at the Cottage Bistro from 4:30 to about 7. I’ll read from the book, we’ll have someone actually host the thing and ask me questions, I’ll have books for sale, I’ll do signings, if you give me beads I’ll flash you. Come down, party with me, it’ll be fun. When I’m not Hulking out about feminism and shit, I’m basically Iron Man/Tony Stark. Just as drunk, just as sexy. I can draw on the facial hair.

Still working on getting through Chapter 3 of Fifty Shades for the vlog, which I have decided to rename Fifty Shades of Drinking because it’s less of a mouthful than Fifty Shades Read-and-Drink Along. (Heh. Mouthful.) I think my brain is throwing up self-preservation things by preventing me from finishing the chapter (and, presumably, the rest of the book). I may actually have to get drunk to lower those shields and complete the first read-through. Watch as my brain tries to leave my skull via any orifice it can. Poor little thing.

Also, I’m tempted to write an erotic romance in response to Fifty Shades called One Shade of Meaningful Consent. Thoughts?